Panera’s Experiment

The café, which reopened Sunday as a nonprofit, has cashiers who provide receipts with suggested prices and direct customers to the store’s five donation boxes. The menu is the same, except for the day-old baked goods brought in from sister stores in the area.

“I’m trying to find out what human nature is all about,” Ron Shaich, who stepped down as Panera’s CEO last week but remains as chairman, told USA Today. “My hope is that we can eventually do this in every community where there’s a Panera.”

Panera Bread Co. introduced a pay-what-you-can business model at one of its St. Louis locations, with the intention of potentially rolling this out to other stores. 

I’d feel guilty for paying less than the suggested price, but I wouldn’t put it past me to also take advantage of this when I was short of cash and looking for a caffeine fix.

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